Breaking into the endurance game can be a great way to earn a living, but it takes time to earn a reputation as a good farrier for marathons.
Vacaville, Calif., farrier Kirk Adkins and Burnsville, N.C., farrier Jeff Pauley offer their best advice for an experienced shoer who wants to get into the game.
“Endurance ebbs and flows, with everyone looking for the next great thing,” Adkins says. “If you want to do well in the endurance world, you have to be a flexible farrier and be able to use unusual shoes and materials. You have to be willing to discuss why some new technique or shoe might not be the best choice for their horse. ‘In my experience, you won’t like this because …’ You have to be able to communicate and be able to articulate what your preferences might be and why for that particular horse. It’s a team effort.”
“I believe that an endurance ride is beneficial to farriers who are interested in gait evaluation,” Pauley says. “Volunteer as a scribe for a vet. You’ll be exposed to hundreds of trot outs and have an opportunity to discuss with the vet what you see.”